Thursday, August 8, 2013
John W.L. Smith Eyecare has been in the area for more than 30 years, and Dr. Smith and Dr. Joy Ellenberger are happy to say they enjoy making life a little more clear for their patients.
Ellenberger is originally from Pittsburgh, but she graduated from the same institution as Smith in Memphis, Tenn.
“I got hooked up with Dr. Smith though our alumni program,” Ellenberger said.
Her husband is from South Carolina, and they decided they would create their lives here.
“I love it here,” Ellenberger said. “North Augusta is amazing. A nice close-knit community.”
She said that coming into a place of work that has been in a community for so long assisted her in beginning her career.
“His practice is so established,” Ellenberger said. “It was nice to have that already set so that I did not have to go and search for people.”
Although she did have a chance to use some of Smith’s contacts, she is working to create a name on her own, as well.
“I’ve been trying to do things to get my name out into the community,” she said. “People in North Augusta are so welcoming, and I feel like the community wants me to grow in (the) practice. I’ve been doing the Lion’s Club and graduated Leadership North Augusta class of 2013.”
Smith began practicing in 1980, and stayed in his original location in North Augusta for 19 years before coming to the location he has now worked in for 14 years at 531 Georgia Ave.
“Service and quality and community involvement are the biggest things that set us apart,” Smith said.
He is originally from North Augusta, and he can remember other opthamologists who came but only lasted a year.
“It was the end of the second year when we turned the corner,” Smith said. “We’re more patient and family oriented. We’re more willing to get to know them.”
He can remember treating a patient that came to him as a preschooler that stills comes to him to this day.
“She came to me to bandage her eye to graduate from kindergarten,” Smith recalls with a smile. “Her mother sent me a picture with her eye all bandaged up. She is now 34.”
“I see adult patients all the time who tell me, ‘Dr. Smith gave me my first pair of glasses,’” Ellenberger said.
“It’s exciting when people have been coming here this long, and they’re now bringing their families and spouses, Smith said.
Walk-ins are welcome and will be taken if there are times available, but appointments are suggested.
“You’re assured that whoever you see will have the proper amount of time to see you and do everything they need to do to have a proper eye exam,” Smith said.
Smith does not take his years of loyalty from patients lightly, and hopes that it will continue.
“To draw from a 60-mile radius, and continue to have growing families come to your practice is a great thing,” Smith said. “You have to enjoy what you do to get other people to come to you.”
Heather Wright is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. She is a North Augusta resident and earned a degree in communications from USC Aiken.